Like all other Sundays, the plan for the morning of 14 December 2014 was to wake up before the sunrise and go to the Jetty at Sewri to spot the Flamingos.
Over the last few weeks my parents and I have been discussing about Ahmed whom I casually met about a month ago at Café Coffee Day.
An arranged marriage is not the diktat it once was. It has evolved over the years into a meeting of mutual consent between both parties, and my Indian parents, products of an arranged marriage, had set up a meeting for me.
I understood the pressures my parents were under. I am their oldest and most adorable child. They have educated and raised me to be independent and self-sufficient. Now all that remained was their last major responsibility: to see me married.
Yet, I resisted. I did not a need a man or a marriage. Aware of their motivations, I could not bring myself to put my foot down and absolutely forbid them to search for a suitable life partner for me. I love them, and would consider that disrespectful. In the end, I decided to put my faith in the two people who knew me best and had only my interests at heart.
I had multitudinous thoughts running through my mind. One, I haven’t shared this recent development about Ahmed with my friends and colleagues. Two, I will miss the Conference organized by ICAI at Andheri which I was supposed to attend today. Three, I am getting engaged in a way which I had never imagined…….I just could not stop thinking!
It was difficult to digest the fact that it is my engagement today, “Sunday” which I was supposed to spend watching Flamingos at the Jetty. It was the busiest day for my family members and I saw my mom and aunties running all around in the house. Thanks to my father’s profession, getting rings at the twelfth hour was not a big deal for him.
As the day passed by and “the evening” had arrived, the noise of hustle bustle in the house had suddenly turned silent. I sat on the maroon sofa in the living room and Ahmed along with his family reached my house few minutes before the agreed time. We exchanged greetings and after few minutes it was the ceremony time. Ahmed was sitting right next to me. He slightly leaned towards me and placed his left hand towards my folded hands. This meant that I had to put forward my left hand for the ring which he was holding between his thumb and index finger of right hand.
My heart was thumping and I guess my mom who was standing beside me realized that and placed her soft hands on my shoulder. That gave me some confidence and within few seconds I could see a solitaire shining on my ring finger.
And now it was my turn! Emotions mixed with a little anxiety and excitement, I was now holding the ring. With numerous thoughts running through my mind, I moved the ring close to his finger and before I could complete my action, the call of Azaan (call for prayers of the day) fell on my ears. I froze for few seconds and the call of the Azaan sounded louder and louder. What?? The call of Azaan and a ring in my hand felt like an unnatural combination and suddenly I could see the ceiling fan of my room in the darkness around me. My eyes were wide open and the ring was no more in my hand!
I smiled to myself and rolled out of the bed. It was early Sunday morning and here I was back in my life, free as bird. I decided not to go to the Jetty and instead spent my morning writing this “engaging” experience under the sky, close to the sea, sitting on the rocks at Nariman Point 🙂